Rustic Barn Wedding Ideas for the Bride on a Budget
You're Invited...To a Barn Wedding!
OK, so you're in love, you want to get married, and you're broke. You just don't have $25,000 to $30,000 to plunk down on a wedding which is what the average wedding is running these days. Heck, if you had that kind of money, you'd be paying off your student loans or buying a new car instead of riding around in that 1984 Ford Tempo. Yeah, yeah, it's a classic, but whatever. Time to put on your thinking cap and get creative. Maybe you're a really casual kind of couple, your fiancé grew up in Iowa on a farm, just your average country boy not quite brought up in a barn, but kinda close...hey, wait a minute, BARN, that's it! Why not have your wedding in a barn?!
Now, before you start getting all high and mighty on me, just stop and think for a minute. Barn venues on the average are a lot cheaper to rent than fancy reception halls, the barn can serve as a wedding and reception site, eliminating the need for having to decorate two separate venues...already a cost savings there. Depending on your location, you may actually know someone who has a barn you could use for the wedding. Rustic barn weddings are very trendy right now so you'd appear very cutting edge to your friends and family, instead of what you are...BROKE! Are you catching on to what a very good thing a barn wedding could be? Good, then hold on to your cowboy hat, because here come the ideas to make yours the most memorable wedding ever!
The Three Crucial Elements for Barn Wedding Décor
There are three main décor elements for barn wedding décor that you're going to be able to use just about everywhere. The great thing about these three is they are cheap, cheap, cheap! The three giants of rustic decorating are burlap, Mason jars, and raffia. With these three things and a little DIY know-how, you can pull off some amazing stuff.
Burlap can be bought by the bolt in wide widths that would make great table toppers or aisle runners or narrower widths (12–14 inch) that would be so easy to fashion into chair sashes or table runners. If you're a neat freak, (because burlap does ravel!) you can glue the cut edges under with craft glue, if you like the more rustic look, you can fray the edges a little, making a slight fringe.
You just can't say enough about the value and versatility of the lowly Mason jar for rustic wedding decorations. They can be used for everything from pew markers to flower vases, they can hold candles, wedding favors, or lemonade and at less than $1.00 apiece (vintage blue are usually more), you just can't beat them.
And finally, raffia. Yes, I know it's a little reminiscent of the dreaded blue and rose "country" period during the '80s, but paired with the right elements, it will give you the casual and rustic feel you want without spending a ton of money on expensive ribbon. Tie it around fence posts, shepherd's hooks, the handle of bridesmaid's bouquets, and the lip of mason jars. And a little goes a really LOOOONG way!
Casual Wedding Attire for the Barn Wedding
Since your atmosphere is going to be a bit more casual, (you are in a barn, after all!), you can get away with a little less formal attire for the whole wedding party. Note: A little less formal sometimes translates into less expensive! Cowboy boots for the whole wedding party would be entirely appropriate, but beware, cowboy boots, although unassuming, could bust everyone's budget, so unless your attendants were already in the market for some or you already own them or can borrow them, you might want to steer clear no matter how much they were part of your "vision." Short dresses in neutral tones would be great for your bridesmaids, and khaki suits would be ideal for the groomsmen. You could even throw in a Western look with string or bolo ties for the guys.
Be careful with your gown as well. Remember, your dress, if long and loaded with a train, will be dragging dirty ground and wooden floors where it could easily snag a nail, so beware of lace or lots of ruffles and flounces. Unless, of course, you're going to have an armada of attendants carrying your train for you all day!
Barn Wedding Invitations
While we're on the subject of wedding attire, have you thought about how you're going to tip off unsuspecting guests who aren't very close friends and family the wedding will be in a barn? You don't want female guests showing up dressed to the nines and sinking down in red clay halfway down to their 5 inch Christian Louboutins! If your venue name doesn't say BARN in it somewhere very prominently, you might want to enclose a separate card letting guests know or design a cute invitation in the shape of a barn with doors that open up to reveal a wedding in progress inside. Also, and this is a worst-case scenario and not out of the realm of possibility, some of your guests may have allergies to grass or hay, so they kind of need to know what they are going to be exposed to in advance.
Lighting Up the Barn
If you've ever been in a barn, you know they aren't the brightest things in the world. Considering you might actually want to see your wedding guests and your lucky groom, this could be an issue. Unless you're lucky enough to have the money to rent a real barn wedding venue which will probably have the lighting issue resolved, you're going to have to tackle this problem on your own. However, it doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune on lighting. Gather together as many Christmas lights as your friends and family will let you borrow, some tall ladders and a few brave friends and go to work. If there's is no electricity in the barn whatsoever, you may have to rent a generator for all of your lights to run off of, plus some extra-long extension cords. Look in particular for rope lighting, 300 mini-light strands, and icicle lights. Paper lanterns look great in barns, but buying the LED lights to go in them can prove to be expensive, so use your Christmas lights to light them up instead. Follow the architectural features of the barn with your lights, doors, windows, and rafters, leading up to the roof if you can. Use extreme care with any candles around barns. Yes, candlelight is beautiful, but besides old weathered wood, you'll have hay and plenty of other flammable objects. LED candles may be the way to go, unless you want your wedding to end up with the same kind of reputation as Mrs. O'Leary's cow!
Barn Wedding Favors
Favors can sometimes be a budget buster, but there are clever ways to give favors without having to hock your engagement ring! Particularly with the casual wedding theme you've chosen, favors can be kept very simple. Is there a particular food item your area is famous for...peaches or peanuts in Georgia, apples in Washington, cheese in Wisconsin? Using small brown paper bags as your favor bags and a stencil, color your new initial with a sharpie on each bag. Scrapbooking scissors can be used to cut a decorative edge on each bag. Then just let guests fill their bag with some fresh produce! Supply old fashioned baker's twine to tie off the bags as a finishing touch. If you're a foodie, you could even make jelly or jam or even cookie or cocoa mixes in Mason jars as favors. Handmade bath salts are another easy project for quick and easy favors as well, and if you've got a friend who works at a daycare center, she can save the baby food jars for you which make perfect containers for just about anything.
Using Regional Favorites as Favors
What Goes In Must Come Out!
If you're not using a venue specifically created for barn weddings and you're using a real live farm with a barn, you may encounter a, how shall we say it, sensitive problem. You have 200 people altogether, eating, drinking, and generally engaging in merrymaking and an unfortunate fact of life rears its' ugly head. Yes, dear bride and groom, I am talking about nature calling, some sort of restroom facility for your guests close by, so the nearby woods won't become an outdoor potty! Now certainly the thought of the porta-potties at outdoor concerts are not your most pleasant college memories, but there are ways to make these unsung heroes more appealing. Depending on your budget, there are actually flushable port-a-jons as well as bathroom trailers which are basically bathrooms on wheels. If your budget can't handle either one of these options, you still can make them a little more pleasant. Start by decorating around them, pots of flowers, or a funny or cute sign on the door. Inside, pleasant smelling air fresheners and deodorizers and LED candles for light can help to make them downright homey. Be sure to include lots of good quality toilet paper to enhance the whole potty experience!
More Rustic Wedding Ideas
Rustic and vintage-themed weddings are still so popular and don't show any sign of fading away anytime soon. In this economy, couples are smart to figure out ways to have a beautiful wedding while cutting costs, whether in a barn, a park, or their own backyard.
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